'Like An Uber for Ideas'
As a young child, Emmie Daswani often traveled with her parents, whose work with the World Bank and the Environmental Protection Agency took them around the world. Even then, she was struck by “seeing so much sadness and hurt in the world,” and she vowed that one day she would find a way to help people in need.
That day is now.
Daswani, Class of 2024, and two longtime friends, Garret Roberts of UMass Lowell and Adrian Deli Coli of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, have created The Concept Project. Their concept is simple: Challenge people to do good by taking part in different mental and physical challenges, while raising awareness and funds for various social causes.
“Essentially, our goal is to become a platform company that can be used for doing good,” says Daswani, an entrepreneurship major. “Almost like an Uber for ideas.”
Even though they launched The Concept Project last November in the midst of the global pandemic, Daswani and her co-founders didn’t think small. Their first project was a four-day, 150-kilometer walk through Nova Scotia led by Deli Coli to honor the memories of 22 people killed in a mass shooting there earlier in the year. They raised $10,000 for a scholarship fund for families of the victims.
In December, Daswani and her team took part in the Highs and Lows Walk to raise funds for the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, hiking from the state’s highest point, Mount Washington, to its lowest, Hampton Beach. Their six-day, 120-mile journey began in the midst of heavy snowstorm and ended with a plunge into the ocean — and close to $10,000 raised.
In March, Daswani and company found themselves back in the water, plunging into Boston Harbor as part of a unique clothing drive titled Jump, Wash, Donate. Every day, volunteers jumped into the water fully clothed, then washed and dried their clothes, and donated them to nonprofits working with the homeless. By the end of March, more than 100 jumpers had taken part, and donated hundreds of items of clothing to 22 different agencies.
“We raised more awareness than we ever thought we could,” says Daswani. “In theory, we believe that everyone wants to do good. And when you make it a challenge and give them the opportunity, they will.”
The opportunities are endless
A number of Suffolk students have risen to the challenge, including Liam Devlin, Class of 2024, a political science, philosophy, and economics major. “When it comes to giving back, the opportunities are endless,” he says. “Being part of these projects has added perspective to my life, and that’s important because I want to be a difference-maker in the world.”
Adds finance major Tristan Comeau, Class of 2024, “I like the feeling you get when doing something good for someone else. Interacting with other students has really motivated me to help create change for people in a positive way.”
Daswani, Devlin, and Comeau have all become friends through The Concept Project, which has conducted smaller goodwill projects such as passing out sandwiches to the homeless; playing “kindness bingo,” which focuses on making others smile; and walking around the Boston Common asking people what they are grateful for.
Upcoming projects include a 400-mile bike ride from Maine to New York City to benefit small businesses affected by the pandemic, and a Garbage Swim, where participants will swim their way up the coastline of New Hampshire, with breaks to pick up trash on the beaches.
“We want to keep growing and become profitable so we can do larger projects,” says Daswani, who plans to start an online clothing boutique this summer and donate a percentage of the profits. “We’re always looking to get more people involved to improve the lives of others.”
Learn more about The Concept Project.